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Non-Traditional Student Week highlights (not-so) small campus community

This past week the Non-Traditional Student Association (NSA) hosted Non-Traditional Student Week. The week featured a number of different events open to the University of Maine community in the Commuter Lounge.

Advisor of the NSA and Staff Associate of Student Life, Barbara Smith, helped start Non-Traditional Student Week almost a decade ago. The week has come a long way since then, offering events that are beneficial to the non-traditional student population at UMaine.

“For non-traditional students, timing is of the essence, so we do a ‘Lunch and Learn’ series where we provide lunch and bring in different resource people,” Smith said.

The “Lunch and Learn” series also featured discussions on important topics that non-traditional students often need to keep in mind, such as time-management and planning inexpensive meals. There was also a “Bake Off,” in which students brought in homemade baked goods to be judged by other university students, which Smith mentioned is always a big hit in the Commuter Lounge.

“I think an event that I always enjoy and get excited for is the Bake Off. It engages all students and I always think it is a friendly competition,” Jennifer Brown, who is the currently the acting president of the NSA, said.

This year the NSA is organizing two movie days per semester, including one that just happened this past week as part of the Non-Traditional Student Week.

The organization’s events have been planned to accommodate non-traditional students’ and their families’ lifestyles. The organization is set to receive 200 Men’s Hockey tickets for one game this semester to allow non-traditional students to sit with their children or family members at the game.

“You can get into the game for free with your student ticket, but if you purchase a ticket for your 8-year-old daughter who wants to go with you, her ticket is in a different section,” Smith said. “So we try to make one night of the hockey game for non-trads.”

In past years the organization has only received 50 tickets, according to Smith.

With the non-traditional student population growing to roughly around 500 students, the NSA is an organization on the rise.

“We want more involvement of non-traditional groups on campus.  It’s something as a group we are trying to accomplish,” Brown said.

“I think anything about non-trads is good. I think most people on this campus assume that everyone is about 18 or 21 and lives on campus. In fact, most live off campus. There is a good five percent of students who are non-traditional,” Smith said. “They’re not thinking about the same type of things on Saturday morning that most traditional students are. That’s one of the reasons why we do the Non-Traditional Student Week, to get the word out that there are non-traditional students on campus.”

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